Gilets Jaunes exposes the Fake Left

Via The UNZ Review:

So it appears the privatization of France isn’t going quite as smoothly as planned. As I assume you are aware, for over a month now, the gilets jaunes (or “yellow vests”), a multiplicitous, leaderless, extremely pissed off, confederation of working class persons, have been conducting a series of lively protests in cities and towns throughout the country to express their displeasure with Emmanuel Macron and his efforts to transform their society into an American-style neo-feudal dystopia. Highways have been blocked, toll booths commandeered, luxury automobiles set on fire, and shopping on the Champs-Élysées disrupted. What began as a suburban tax revolt has morphed into a bona fide working class uprising.

It took a while for “the Golden Boy of Europe” to fully appreciate what was happening. In the tradition of his predecessor, Louis XVI, Macron initially responded to the gilets jaunes by inviting a delegation of Le Monde reporters to laud his renovation of the Elysée Palace, making the occasional condescending comment, and otherwise completely ignoring them. That was back in late November. Last Saturday, he locked down central Paris, mobilized a literal army of riot cops, “preventatively arrested” hundreds of citizens, including suspected “extremist students,” and sent in the armored military vehicles.

The English-language corporate media, after doing their best not to cover these protests (and, instead, to keep the American and British publics focused on imaginary Russians), have been forced to now begin the delicate process of delegitimizing the gilets jaunes without infuriating the the entire population of France and inciting the British and American proletariats to go out and start setting cars on fire. They got off to a bit of an awkward start.

For example, this piece by Angelique ChrisafisThe Guardian‘s Paris Bureau Chief, and her Twitter feed from the protests last Saturday. Somehow (probably a cock-up at headquarters), The Guardian honchos allowed Chrisafis to do some actual propaganda-free reporting (and some interviews with actual protesters) before they caught themselves and replaced her with Kim Willsher, who resumed The Guardian‘s usual neoliberal establishment-friendly narrative, which, in this case, entailed dividing the protesters into “real” gilets jaunes and “fake” gilet jaunes, and referring to the latter fictional group as “thuggish, extremist political agitators.”

By Sunday, the corporate media were insinuating that diabolical Russian Facebook bots had brainwashed the French into running amok, because who else could possibly be responsible? Certainly not the French people themselves! The French, as every American knows, are by nature a cowardly, cheese-eating people, who have never overthrown their rightful rulers, or publicly beheaded the aristocracy. No, the French were just sitting there, smoking like chimneys, and otherwise enjoying their debt-enslavement and the privatization of their social democracy, until they unsuspectingly logged onto Facebook and … BLAMMO, the Russian hackers got them!

Bloomberg is reporting that French authorities have opened a probe into Russian interference (in the middle of which report, for no apparent reason, a gigantic photo of Le Pen is featured, presumably just to give it that “Nazi” flavor). According to “analysis seen by The Times,” Russia-linked social media accounts have been “amplifying” the “chaos” and “violence” by tweeting photos of gilets jaunes who the French police have savagely beaten or gratuitiously shot with “less-than-lethal projectiles.” “Are nationalists infiltrating the yellow vests?” the BBC Newsnight producers are wondering. According to Buzzfeed’s Ryan Broderick, “a beast born almost entirely from Facebook” is slouching toward … well, I’m not quite sure, the UK or even, God help us, America! And then there’s Max Boot, who is convinced he is being personally persecuted by Russian agents like Katie Hopkins, James Woods, Glenn Greenwald, and other high-ranking members of a worldwide conspiracy Boot refers to as the “Illiberal International” (but which regular readers of my column will recognize as the “Putin-Nazis“).

And, see, this is the problem the corporate media (and other staunch defenders of global neoliberalism) are facing with these gilets jaunes protests. They can’t get away with simply claiming that what is happening is not a working class uprising, so they have been forced to resort to these blatant absurdities. They know they need to delegitimize the gilets jaunes as soon as possible — the movement is already starting to spread — but the “Putin-Nazi” narrative they’ve been using on Trump, Corbyn, and other “populists” is just not working.

No one believes the Russians are behind this, not even the hacks who are paid to pretend they do. And the “fascism” hysteria is also bombing. Attempts to portray the gilets jaunes as Le Pen-sponsored fascists blew up in their faces. Obviously, the far-Right are part of these protests, as they would be in any broad working class uprising, but there are far too many socialists and anarchists (and just regular pissed-off working class people) involved for the media to paint them all as “Nazis.”

Which is not to say that the corporate media and prominent public intellectuals like Bernard-Henri Lévy will not continue to hammer away at the “fascism” hysteria, and demand that the “good” and “real” gilets jaunes suspend their protests against Macron until they have completely purged their movement of “fascists,” and “extremists,” and other dangerous elements, and have splintered it into a number of smaller, antagonistic ideological factions that can be more easily neutralized by the French authorities … because that’s what establishment intellectuals do.

We can expect to hear this line of reasoning, not just from establishment intellectuals like Lévy, but also from members of the Identity Politics Left, who are determined to prevent the working classes from rising up against global neoliberalism until they have cleansed their ranks of every last vestige of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, and so on. These leftist gatekeepers have been struggling a bit to come up with a response to the gilets jaunes … a response that doesn’t make them sound like hypocrites. See, as leftists, they kind of need to express their support for a bona fide working class uprising. At the same time, they need to delegitimize it, because their primary adversaries are fascism, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and assorted other isms and phobias, not the neoliberal ruling classes.

Nothing scares the Identity Politics Left quite like an actual working class uprising. Witnessing the furious unwashed masses operating out there on their own, with no decent human restraint whatsoever, Identity Politics Leftists feel a sudden overwhelming urge to analyze, categorize, organize, sanitize, and otherwise correct and control them. They can’t accept the fact that the actual, living, breathing working classes are messy, multiplicitous, inconsistent, and irreducible to any one ideology. Some of them are racists. Some are fascists. Others are communists, socialists, and anarchists. Many have no idea what they are, and don’t particularly care for any of these labels. This is what the actual working classes are … a big, contradictory collection of people who, in spite of all their differences, share one thing in common, that they are being screwed over by the ruling classes. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself one of them.

Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. According to The Guardian, as I am sitting here writing this, the whole of Europe is holding its breath in anticipation of the gilets jaunes’ response to Macron’s most recent attempt to appease them, this time with an extra hundred Euros a month, some minor tax concessions, and a Christmas bonus. Something tells me it’s not going to work, but even if it does, and the gilets jaunes uprising ends, this messy, Western “populist” insurgency against global neoliberalism has clearly entered a new phase. Count on the global capitalist ruling classes to intensify their ongoing War on Dissent and their demonization of anyone opposing them (or contradicting their official narrative) as an “extremist,” a “fascist,” a “Russian agent,” and so on. I’m certainly looking forward to that, personally.

Oh … yeah, and I almost forgot, if you were wondering what you could get me for Christmas, I did some checking, and there appears to be a wide selection of yellow safety vests online for just a couple Euros.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.

Comments

  1. ResearchtimeMEMBER

    From the WSJ on Saturday (Russians responsible for Brexit as well according to the BBC, and no I am not making that up…)

    France Probes Any Moscow Role in Yellow-Vest Movement
    By Matthew Dalton
    Dec. 14, 2018 5:34 p.m. ET
    PARIS—When French President Emmanuel Macron emerged as a leading candidate in 2017, his campaign was targeted by waves of hacking attempts that cybersecurity researcherslinked to Moscow.

    Now, French security services are investigating any Kremlin role in social media activity that has amplified the yellow-vests movement and spread misinformation about it, helping the protests become the most serious threat to Mr. Macron’s young presidency.

    “There has been some suspect activity,” a French cybersecurity official said. “We are in the process of looking at its impact.”

    Cybersecurity researchers disagree over whether Kremlin agents have been controlling some of the accounts used to whip up the yellow vests, promote Russian-backed coverage and encourage demonstrators on social networks.

    Ryan Fox of New Knowledge, an Austin, Texas-based cybersecurity firm, said it identified several hundred accounts on Twitter and Facebook it says are very likely controlled by Moscow and are active in the movement.

    Facebook says that its regular monitoring of social-media accounts for organized interference hasn’t uncovered evidence of a campaign by Moscow or any other foreign government in the yellow vests, or gilets jaunes, movement. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment on the protests.

    Graham Brookie, director of the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said his group hasn’t seen significant evidence of state-sponsored interference. “What we have seen is enthusiastic and opportunistic amplification of unrest across a familiar group of strange bedfellows that include pro-Kremlin influencers or media, far-right influencers, and outright conspiracy theorists,” Mr. Brookie said.

    Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov has denied any Russian interference in the yellow vests.

    The mainly working-class protest movement against Mr. Macron and his economic policies has mobilized hundreds of thousands of people in recent weeks and led to rioting in Paris. More protests are expected this weekend.

    Russia has a stake in how the protests play out.

    Mr. Macron’s election victory was an unexpected setback for Moscow last year, when pro-Russian candidates François Fillon and Marine Le Pen were leading contenders for the presidency. Mr. Macron has become one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most outspoken critics on the international stage.

    In addition to anonymous social-media accounts, pro-Russian activists in France are participating in the protests and helping to turn out demonstrators.

    Their involvement reflects Mr. Putin’s role as an inspiration to far-right political activists across the West. The activists see in the yellow vests a grass-roots movement that could hobble or even topple Mr. Macron, a strong supporter of Western institutions such as NATO and the European Union that Mr. Putin views as a threat.

    “Macron isn’t legitimate,” said Xavier Moreau, a Franco-Russian businessman who runs a pro-Kremlin website in Moscow. “He rose to power because of a media-legal coup d’état.”

    Mr. Moreau, who voted for Mr. Fillon in the last election, donned a yellow vest last Saturday on the Champs Elysees and unfurled a flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the breakaway, Russian-backed province of eastern Ukraine. Mr. Moreau has repeatedly traveled to the so-called republic and served as an election observer there.

    A photo of Mr. Moreau at the protest with the flag ricocheted across social media, alarming Ukraine’s State Security Service. Its chief posted a statement calling Mr. Moreau a Russian agent. “They have started to create unrest and violence in France behind the backs of peaceful protesters,” the service said.

    Mr. Moreau said he isn’t working for the Russian government. “I don’t hide anything,” he said. “I am pro-French and pro-Russian.”

    Frank Buhler, a far-right French political activist and Russophile,has been an important online figure in the movement. A former member of Ms. Le Pen’s National Front who was expelled from the party for posting racist remarks on social media, Mr. Buhler posted one of the earlier videos calling for the first yellow vest protest on Nov. 17. His video has been viewed more than 4.5 million times.

    He said his involvement in the yellow vests is unrelated to his admiration of Mr. Putin, whom he calls a leader “at the level of Churchill for England, de Gaulle for France or Roosevelt for America.”

    “I have never had the least contact with the Russian authorities,” he said.

    Mr. Macron has had a contentious relationship with Moscow since the French presidential campaign. The hackers that targeted his campaign used the same techniques, cyber researchers say, as those who penetrated the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election, an operation U.S. intelligence agencies have pinned on Moscow. Mr. Macron also accused Kremlin-backed news agencies Russia Today and Sputnik of spreading smears about his character.

    On the eve of the presidential election, hackers leaked a huge cache of documents that was taken from Mr. Macron’s campaign, posting it to a far-right online forum.

    • This blame the Russians bs for every single thing possibly imaginable is getting ridiculous. Seriously how dumb do the powers that be think we are?

    • He said his involvement in the yellow vests is unrelated to his admiration of Mr. Putin, whom he calls a leader “at the level of Churchill for England, de Gaulle for France or Roosevelt for America.”

      lol, comparing Putin to Churchill and de Gaulle. The only similarity between Putin, Churchill and de Gaulle is that they are humans.

    • Dear me so much intel-corp propaganda from all sides. Interesting are the Identity Politics Left, however need to remember (when push comes to shove) they (their leaders) are part of the white collar bureaucratic globalists who support the global corporates.
      Kevin Rudd (white collar globalist) was replaced by Julia Gillard and her band of Identity Politics Left….Cultural Marxists because these people know they cannot win elections without being in coalition but there’s a problem because as has been demonstrated they are a very uneasy coalition because essentially as Mark Latham has recognised, the basic working class (like French yellow vests) don’t care much for identity politics…..yes watch out Bill Shorten because here comes Tanya and Penny. Most of the globalist side of politics use the Identity Left Cultural Marxists as a very powerful distraction on the basic working classes; they are convenient irrespective of their fake social research.
      From January 2019, the credit markets won’t have a helping hand of asset buying from the ECB, European countries will need to raise taxes even more to pay their hoards of bureaucrats and no it is not Russian controlled policy. The French people pay almost 50% of their wages in taxes already so there are significant problems of state funding starting in 2019 not only in France but also other EU countries.

  2. “This is what the actual working classes are … a big, contradictory collection of people who, in spite of all their differences, share one thing in common, that they are being screwed over by the ruling classes. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself one of them.”

    Truthsayer.
    Classes not identities; the opposite has been tearing us apart and focused us on fighting among ourselves like fools.
    Please, please, please let this be the beginning of a global revolution. I’ll even get a yellow vest ready.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      When was the last time you heard the term “Solidarity” uttered by the coporate media and mainstream press.

    • I’ve always considered myself working class: does that mean that I can also join in and add my voice. energy, enthusiasm and money to control the direction of this movement?
      As you say Solidarity.

    • Yep, I’m hoping this is the start of something massive also.

      Oz housing crash and global class revolution at the same time – this could get really interesting.

  3. Lol, you seem to think these protests are a desire for extreme right wing neo-liberal economics. Apart from stopping continued high immigration, all of your wish list could be something the Republicans or the leaders of Singapore would roll out. Really shows how little you understand of France and the world. The protesters aren’t protesting to create your wet dream right wing utopia, they are protesting to protect what little is left of Frances social democratic compact and welfare state. They are protesting because they believe the state has failed them, not because they think states are failures. They are protesting to protect THEIR interests, not yours. These protests are not the embodiment of Zerohedge and Infowars, no matter how much you personally want them to be.

    • You are overthinking the post. I was there a month ago and I couldn’t get over what a segregated and fractured city Paris was. They have a massive problem with globalism drastically changing their country. I don’t think this is a left right thing, I think this is a have and have not thing. I think the article is accurate.

    • I’m sure you’re right. I don’t think that post is right wing infowars. It is just that people are sick of being overtaxed and subsidising the globalist agenda. Much the same as I feel subsidising negative gearers.

    • @ Fitzroy I’m clearly responding to Jonsons comment. Nested comment aren’t new, do you really not understand who they work?

    • @Trout à la Crème Identity politics? What on earth are you talking about?

      The working class in France, or better the underclass and disaffected, are not protesting to create a Libertarian utopia. How can you not see this? They are protesting because the compact between the French government/ ruling class and the ruled, has broken down. If you knew anything about France beyond your own twisted ideology, you would know how silly what you wrote sounds.

      It even says this in the article. You are reading into this article what you want to see. What you think is that Macron is some darling of the left, when really he is the darling of the global “establishment”. It just so happens that the global establishment is going through a kind of civil war, and the right side has made you one of their patsies. If the Yellow Vests make their way to the US and UK, you better believe that the first to call for the Army to be mobilised would be people like Trump, Farage, Alex Jones, etc, because they are members of the elite and these protesters are very much targeting the elite of all stripes.

  4. So very true and points the way to why Mr Shorten’s government is going to be such a disappointment . The activist part of the Labour party is strongly into identity politics and can’t wait to get in and tell everyone how to think and talk, making new laws to compel the polity to fit their world view.

    The terrible housing policy just released shows that the centre of the Labour party sees nothing wrong with the state of the nation that a few right minded people like themselves can’t solve by fiddling with the settings of existing policies. So no substantive changes to the malaise we are suffering can be expected during the next 3 years, with every chance of a real international crisis blowing up at any time with trust gone everywhere which means no co-ordinated response.

    Central banks will be expected to lead the world again while politicians squabble. Live by the central bank, you die by the central bank.

  5. Good on em at least the Europeans have some balls. When is our uprising? Oh, when people suddenly realise their house price won’t magically go up for ever and ever then we might start to see some people taking an interest into how this country is being run again.

  6. I sent a friend who knows far more about France than I do Matt Taibbi’s take on it.

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/france-protests-yellow-vests-768810/

    His recommendation for an English language take on the issue was this piece.

    https://www.politico.eu/article/why-are-france-yellow-jackets-so-angry-fuel-tax-emmanuel-macron/

    Edit: the MB post itself isn’t a very good one. Though the commentary from many groups, left and right, have missed the mark, the author underplays that it is free for all and dwells too much on his grievances.

  7. interested party

    On the UN’s push for open borders…globally!

    “The immensely opposed and disastrous document declares unlimited migration to be treated as a human right, thereby deprecating the term ‘illegal migrants’, and criminalises any criticism of migration as hate speech.”

    And some wonder if immigration causes tensions….

    ” The points that raised alarm for most was that it seeks to eliminate all forms of dissent. Media organisations for example, should they criticise anything to do with migration would lose access to state funding. People would be labelled as racists or guilty of hate speech which will now be criminalised. This pact will literally erase our borders.”

    Of course….having unelected technocrats decide your life’s outcomes would be reason enough to rebel. Maybe this rebellion is push-back against the cabal?…..
    https://voiceofeurope.com/2018/12/they-lied-the-un-migration-pact-is-legally-binding-and-could-be-valid-for-all-countries/?fbclid=IwAR01EZpSXRa_6W0bxEeBWp65qH5OrdIL0WgKs2vAS0ipsdLLG2TzpdACL9s#.XBUfe5gi9UQ.twitter

  8. – Yeah, sure. Those evil russians are resposible for everything the western elites don’t like, right ?
    – Those who are in power don’t want to have to admit htat there’s “something wrong” with the economy. because then they would have to give up a large portion of their wealth and power. This applies NOT only for France but also for the UK (think: Brexit) and the US (think: Trump) and for us here in Australia.

  9. i enjoyed reading this….

    The Guardian honchos allowed Chrisafis to do some actual propaganda-free reporting (and some interviews with actual protesters) before they caught themselves and replaced her with Kim Willsher, who resumed The Guardian‘s usual neoliberal establishment-friendly narrative, which, in this case, entailed dividing the protesters into “real” gilets jaunes and “fake” gilet jaunes, and referring to the latter fictional group as “thuggish, extremist political agitators.”

  10. Jumping jack flash

    Just the beginning.

    The privatisation of everything was simply a move for lazy, inept politicians to become more lazy and hide their ineptitude. It has blown up. It was always going to happen this way. Private companies only exist to create profit, not provide service.

    It worked for a while in the boom times while there was still enough debt and debt capacity to keep it all going, but in the bad times, after everyone is soaked in debt, it swings back the other way.

    In bad times and crippling amounts of debt, private companies need to gouge to generate income for their privileged employees to steal to repay their own debt and keep up with rising living costs. This causes a feedback loop in rising costs of living – which are mostly controlled by private companies.

    The other massive issue with privatisation is the government loses control. A smart government would identify that it has no control over costs of living, or anything that directly affects the everyday experiences of their people, and admit it, and then accept the consequences.

    Perhaps our great, intelligent leaders with planet-sized brains should take steps to regain control by using any surplus for setting up government owned and run companies to work alongside the private ones with the intent to manipulate markets broken by the debt-fuelled greed of private companies.
    Hint, hint…

    • The other massive issue with privatisation is the government loses control………….as Tony Benn said “public ownership is democratic control”

    • It’s almost as if public run companies, run for the public and in the best interest of the public and owned by the tax payer are better for society? Whoocoodanode? 🙂

  11. Well I never, Left & Right wing again… Left good, Right Bad.
    A short while ago someone pointed me to this Youtube video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTZZ_lcV1kY
    It’s the Left hate figure Tommy Robinson attending a German march opposing their country’s immigration policies. I’d thought it would be the usual group of cropped haired National Front rage mob.
    Watch for yourselves. It wasn’t the opinions of the people on the march or the comments attached to the article that got to me. It was when Robinson approached the media and asked them how they would be describing the people attending the march. He asked if they would use the phrase “Right Wing”. The results horrified me, they literally ran away. They had seen the protestors, very ordinary people. Now they are confronted with someone asking them very politely how they were going to describe them. One female’s reporter’s reactions were particularly instructive. I think she feared for her job if she said ANYTHING that might upset the group think mindset back at her office
    See for yourselves. Fascinating.

  12. One protestor alleged that the police stood by while the extremists turned to violence and property destruction. The theory was that the police did nothing so that footage of the violence would discredit the protests as the work of extremists.

    • Good for them! They won’t put up with the bullshit us mice do so they get results. On the other hand, their economy is being shafted due to their lack of productivity. It’s the old story – gone offshore. A classic case of the consequences of getting what you wished for..

      • Push Australian’s far enough and the same will happen here I think, but comparatively life here is comfortable (or has been) we’re about to be tested if this debt bubble collapses, since there will be no more credit = no more good times. I think we will see a very different country going forward. I think we will see smaller scale riots, especially if there is a bank bailout. Heck I’ll be joining them, wearing a yellow vest and all.

  13. I Think the most stark controversial problem with today’s politics is that it is trying to define people in boxes.
    If you are not one of the extreme left box, then you must be a far right extremist.
    It is the world view of “Black” and “White”.

    I am considering myself a leftist with some right wing views in certain issues. Which put me through the struggle of categorising myself in this extremist world we are living in these days.

    I have been named a communist in some occasions n some opinions and a Nazi in some others.

    Really sad way to live in this super-polarized “world I can’t explain”

    • I find that people who do not like what I say (which, let’s face it, is pretty much anyone I talk to for any length of time) wish to label me so that they can neatly put all my views (of which they have heard only one about one topic) in a box. It is much easier for them that way. I can be treated as a label rather than a person.

      To some, I am a deplorable, but that is only by those who really know me well.

    • A perfect example this is any Jordan Peterson interview you’ll see they’ll try to categorise him as some kind of far right icon.

      But he often has a way of explaining himself that makes it really difficult for the press to easily classify him in any particular category.

      Just refer to the Cathy Newman vs Jordan Peterson interview.

  14. This would happen to be the most concise and apt description of the global situation right now that I’ve read in a very long time.

    Great find

  15. Gavin …. yellow …. has always been associated with being gutless. I suggest a stronger colour. Red?

    • Think its actually very effective cause Ferdinand Marcos was deposed in the Philippines by Aquino & some demonstrators wearing yellow. When their numbers increased enough, the military (blue collar bureaucrats) switched sides and backed the people……bye bye Marcos.

    • SeyedsepehrMEMBER

      Red (communists), brown (Nazis), black (Fascists), green (the fake green parties), white (fake human-rights activists) and ranbow (LGBTQFWS…). Soon we should go to sub-red and ultra-violet colours to symbolize something.

  16. Hoo boy, I scanned this whole page and no mention of fossil fuels or oil, even though these protests were initially against taxes on fossil fuels, and almost certainly the nastier element of the yellowjacks were funded by the usual suspects. Everyone asleep at the wheel while the world’s biggest bidness has surreptitiously succeeded in strangling the first nascent attempt to climate-tax their toxic product. Sad.

    • You do realise the Europe already has much higher taxes on fuel than we do R2M. so we are the ones not taxing it.

      • But up until now they have not had taxes aimed specifically at climate. That’s the key difference, and why the FF sector has funded this dissent